2012 Guadalupe Island Race Journal from Couple Therapy - Ed Webber
Guadalupe Island Race 2012
With some trepidation I decided to do the GI race. The forecasts seemed benign and, after all, races like this are why I took up sailing and bought a boat. As it turned out, there were a couple of times when, if I could have teleported myself home to my LazyBoy, I'd have happily abandoned the boat!
The race started in almost calm, shorts and t-shirt, but the wind filled in as we went and got cold around west-end. I was never warm enough again until I got home.
Windy and wild sea-state, bucking and broncing, and putting in double reef at 0230 = scary!
Even wilder conditions on saturday afternoon through sunday morning and my self-steering is having trouble keeping up. Beam me up, Scotty!
By noon sunday the breeze had veered and died down (too much) which was the beginning of a grueling 7 hour battle to keep my A2 inflated and not wrapped on anything. The fight was necessary, or otherwise I wouldn't have made any headway at all.
Monday morning drifting and slatting a couple miles south of the island for a few hours until I picked up a zephr from the southeast (what the...!) that pushed me far enough northeast to find 6kts NNW that pulled me for the rest of the day. Well, anyway, I had a good book with me. Finally got back to the rhumbline going north into lightish air coming from exactly my destination, of course.
Things proceeded much like that until I got a good dose of NW wind 15-20 and heavy chop on thursday from about off Ensenada to near the finish. I found the hobby-horsing and slamming quite restful because in the conditions, however bumpy and noisy, the boat could look after herself.
After I finished at 0130 friday, I rolled up the genoa, cranked up it's iron counterpart, and started the long haul home. I didn't stop in Avalon because I've never been there, or any moorage, and I hate land (or rocks) at night (approaching east-end light was terrifying). Anyway, I was well-rested from the bash the past 100+ miles, and once I get pointed toward the LazyBoy...
I know it's a cliche but it's incredible how many stars you can see away from city lights on a clear night. On friday night the moonrise was astonishing. A few days past full, it rose from the water giant, orange, and with the flat parallel with the horizon...fantastic.
On sunday, during the battle with the kite, a whale on a reciprocal course passed me about 50yrds to port. He had barnacle covered long, skinny flukes, and as he swam he alternatley raised them vertical and then slammed them onto the surface with enormous force.
On tuesday, while heading directly into a large and building swell, I looked UP at a whale the size of my boat in the top of the wave ahead of me.
On wednesday there were a couple of brown birds with long, narrow wings and beautiful gliding technique that played hopscotch with me for several hours. One would glide ahead, swooping and diving, and land a couple hundred yards ahead, and then the other would take to the air behind me and do the same. Every once in a while they would land close together for a few minutes, probably comparing notes on the idiot out in the grey and cold.
Sailing the Guadalupe Island race was a good enough experience. Although apprehension is a nasty beast, I never got into any conditions that I wasn't competent to endure. And I learned a ton about my boat, how it behaves, and how to sail it that would have made me more competitive if I'd known them ahead of time. All in all, though, I'd rather do this race in August.
ed webber - Couple Therapy